The first two of eight AC-130H Spectre gunships destined for the new Air Force Special Operations Command force at Cannon AFB, N.M., arrived last week. The remaining aircraft are slated to arrive later this summer, according to the Cannon photo release. The AC-130 gunships are part of the 16th Special Operations Squadron that is shifting from Hurlburt Field, Fla., to Cannon, where it will operate under the 27th Special Operations Wing. AFSOC took over operations at Cannon, setting up its long-sought western hub, in October 2007. The command expects to move about 600 personnel from Hurlburt to Cannon to establish the 16th SOS at the New Mexico facility.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.